Mapping Drones


There are three main factors to consider when picking the drone for your project. It must be able to carry your desired sensor package, it must be able to operate within the restrictions of your environment, and it must be able to cover your entire work area in a reasonable number of flights.

Choosing a Drone

A drone needs to work reliably in your environment in order to provide useful data. The biggest choice to make around a drone is whether to pick a fixed wing or multirotor aircraft. Fixed wing aircraft fly longer and cover more area, into tens of thousands of acres per work day with the E384-Heavy. As a result they tend to be larger and to require more space for launch and recovery. The E386 uses a parachute to allow for safe recovery in confined areas or on very rough terrain. Multirotors can work in extremely confined areas but typically only cover up to about 100 acres per flight and carry a limited payload.

Weather conditions can significantly affect the operations of small unmanned aircraft. Strong prevailing wind or wind gusts can reduce performance or the quality of collected imagery. Just as with manned aircraft, high altitude, heat and humidity affect performance and efficiency. Plan for longer ascents and shorter flights when flying in these conditions.

E384 – Best ValueE384-Heavy Longest RangeE386 Max Autonomy
Flight Time90-110 minutesUp to 3 Hrs85 minutes
Mapping Coverage (5cm/pixel, 60/60 Overlap/Sidelap)1000 acres2000+850 acres
Infrastructure RequirementTakeoff: None
Auto Landing: 120x30m Cleared Space
Operator Landing: 40x15m Cleared Space
Takeoff: None
Auto Landing: 100x30m Cleared Space
Operator Landing: 35x15m Cleared Space
Takeoff: None
Parachute Recovery: 30x30m Cleared Space
Sensor OptionsR10C, RedEdge-M, Sequoia, FLIR, PPKR10C, RedEdge-M, Sequoia, FLIR, RX1R II, PPKR10C, RedEdge-M, Sequoia, FLIR, PPK
Special FeaturesHighly ConfigurableExtreme PerformanceAutonomous Short-Field Landing
Starting At$2,990Contact UsContact Us


Sensor choice depends on the application. For mapping and surveying, a high resolution optical sensor with low distortion lens is usually desirable.

Choosing a Sensor

The sensor determines the quality and type of data collected by your drone. For creating orthomosaics and digital surface models, picking a high resolution optical sensor like the R10C or RX1R II with a low distortion lens results in the highest quality results for surveying purposes. The R10C can collect data in the landscape orientation and automatically geotag its images, so it is particularly efficient for high productivity teams.

Other sensors are available for specialty applications. Converted NDVI cameras can collect NDVI imagery for crops at a reasonable cost. Multispectral sensors like the Parrot Sequoia and Micasense RedEdge offer fully calibrated NDVI data at a higher cost. The benefit of adding calibration to NDVI sensors is that it allows absolute NDVI values to be compared day to day and between different fields and seasons while an uncalibrated sensor can only make comparisons within a single flight.

Thermal sensors from FLIR are also available. Thermal imagery is typically very low resolution but can be useful for a variety of applications in agriculture, construction and inspection.


The Drone Data Management System™ takes data from any drone, automatically geotags the images and produces a high resolution orthomosaic, DEM, 3d model and more. Sharing results privately with clients is as easy as sending a link.

Data Processing

In flight, your drone will collect dozens to hundreds of individual images. It’s then up to you to process that data by first correlating the images with the data from your GPS receiver and then by reconstructing the scene and producing an orthomosaic and digital elevation model.

We are able to provide recommendations for software that meets your needs depending on the sensors you’ve chosen and the products required by your customers. We can even provide enterprise level processing support with our Drone Data Management System™ which includes custom analytical tools for your application.